With cybercrime one of the biggest immediate threats facing companies today, one of the effective yet little-known methods that can counter their assaults is the engagement of white hat or ethical hackers. This unique strategy was highlighted in ROOTCON15, the longest-running and premier hacking conference in the Philippines, which recently held a webinar where leaders in the field and knowledge partners from the private sector discussed various issues related to cybersecurity for the Philippines as seen from the perspective of white hat hackers.

The event was organized by the top officers of ROOTCON in partnership with GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc. (GMCI) who is the convenor of Digital Pilipinas and World Fintech Festival-Philippines 2021; Globe Telecom; Secuna; and KPMG Philippines.


During the discussion, DevNull, goon at Rootcon, expressed that the changes in working environment caused by the pandemic has “placed cybersecurity experts, IT professionals, and white hat hackers at the forefront of countering digital threats to avoid business disruptions.”

Amor Maclang, Digital Pilipinas Convenor and GMCI Co-founder, shared that as the Philippines is becoming an emerging player in FinTech in the ASEAN region,

“the need to build the country’s cyber posture is becoming more important, and that cybersecurity experts together with the government and private sector will play an increasingly relevant role in bringing the Philippines to its rightful place as a digital leader. That is why Digital Pilipinas is enabling platforms like ROOTCON to address such emerging trends and challenges.”

Aj Dumanhug, Chief Information Security Officer of Secuna, shared that while white hat hackers have been utilized in building a secure cyber posture for different private and government entities,

“according to one study there is a huge gap in the number of people who are skilled in handling cyber security…so organizations such as ROOTCON and some companies are a good platform to train the next generation of white hat hackers.”

Secuna is the largest Cybersecurity Testing Platform in the Philippines, connecting Startups and SMEs with highly-vetted global cybersecurity professionals who find and address security flaws in their IT systems that real-world malicious hackers can exploit.  An enabler of Digital Pilipinas, it helps organizations from the public and private sector to secure their digital assets.

Mark Frogoso, Chief Information Security Officer of Mynt (Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc.)/GCASH), emphasized that there is a need to see the higher business goals when managing digital security threats and measuring the effectiveness of cybersecurity. He added that,

“there is a need to not only prepare the IT infrastructure but also train personnel within the house to use them and instill in them the cyber security mindset.”

Dax “Semprix” Labrador, Founder of ROOTCON, shared that ethical hackers should be encouraged to contribute to and fight the emerging digital threats, saying that

“we need guidelines and full disclosure on how to treat hackers whose talents can be funneled in the fight against cybercrimes.”

Speaking about the utilization of white hat hackers, Eman0n, goon at Rootcon, and former consultant for Comcast and Globe Telecom, expressed that e-commerce websites and apps such as Lazada and Shopee have indeed consulted ethical hackers in order to find vulnerabilities, possible exploit points, and ways of mitigating them. Eman0n also added that

“by encouraging hacking workshops and hacker villages, we have contributed to improving the security posture of various organizations. ROOTCON has been a big enabler in this undertaking.”

On building a culture of cybersecurity across all kinds of organizations from government to the private sector,  Jallain Manrique, Partner of Lighthouse Lead and Head of Tech Consulting at KPMG Philippines, said that there is a need to establish to create a culture

“where everyone is conscious about cybersecurity, and to be able to identify the weakest link in the chain…(that) the tech part is just a component, but the processes, legislation, and people are equally important.”

Also present at the virtual conference were ROOTCON goons OxM0N and Shipcode.

The ROOTCON 15 press launch is one of the supported programs of DIGITAL PILIPINAS – WORLD FINTECH FESTIVAL PHILIPPINES, a pioneering movement driven by policy and legislative advocacy, meaningful business connections, regulatory advocacy, mass adoption for nascent technologies, and ecosystem building. The partnership will be a series of co-created projects between Digital Pilipinas and the ROOTCON community that brings together a whole-of-nation and whole-of-society approach to promoting and strengthening cybersecurity and cyber defense.

The 15th edition of ROOTCON, the Philippines largest hacking conference and information security gathering in the Philippines, will be held from October 12-15, 2021 and will bring together experts and leaders from the field of cybersecurity in a hybrid interactive 4-day conference. For more information you can visit the official website of ROOTCON at www.rootcon.org and their pages on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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